Morrison, Gonzaga hand Virginia third straight loss

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- The return of Derek Raivio and an explosive finish by Adam Morrison lifted Gonzaga (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today, No. 10 AP) to an 80-69 victory over Virginia on Saturday night in a game that featured 14 lead changes and seven ties.

Gonzaga (7-2) outscored Virginia 21-6 -- Morrison had nine points in the run-- over the final eight minutes to win its 29th consecutive home game, one behind national leader Washington.

The Cavaliers (3-4), who got a career-high 35 points from Sean Singletary, led 63-59 before Morrison scored four straight points to begin the decisive run.

"They are an ACC team and they've got a great player," said Morrison, who leads the nation in scoring with an average of 28.5 points per game. "We showed a lot of poise and came back and won the game."

J.P. Batista, who was hampered early, finished with 17 points. Raivio, the point guard who missed the past two games with a back injury, scored 18 points and was 5-of-10 from 3-point range. He had only one turnover in 37 minutes.

"Having him out there really helped us," coach Mark Few said.

"It's nice to get his 3-point shot back, too," Morrison added. "People have got to honor that. They can't sag on me and J.P. as much."

Virginia pushed the Bulldogs into 15 turnovers and also recorded eight steals and three blocks as they held the lead for much of the first 30 minutes.

Singletary, who missed the previous game with a hip injury, was 11-of-20 from the field, including four 3-pointers, and had six steals and six rebounds.

"I shot the ball well but we didn't play good team defense," Singletary said.

The Cavaliers, playing for only the second time in Washington state, ran out of gas late in the game, he said.

First-year coach Dave Leitao, whose team has lost three straight, pointed to Gonzaga's 27 free-throw attempts as one key.

"We just allowed their offense to attack us, and we made fouls," Leitao said.

Of Singletary, he said: "Individual performances, when you lose, don't mean a whole lot."

It was the first appearance ever by an Atlantic Coast Conference team in Spokane and a rare example of a major conference team coming to McCarthey Athletic Center, where the Zags have yet to lose in two seasons.

Singletary scored six straight points as the Cavaliers built a 46-42 lead early in the second half.

The teams traded baskets until Batista had a field goal and two free throws to tie the score at 59 with 9:01 left. J.R. Reynolds
made two field goals for a 63-59 Virginia lead.

But Virginia went six minutes without a field goal and the Zags went on a 12-1 run to seize control of the game.

Morrison hit a basket and two free throws to make it 63-all. Batista's free throw gave them the lead before Singletary's free throw tied the game.

Raivio's 3-pointer gave Gonzaga a 67-64 lead with 5:22 left and Reynolds was charged with an intentional foul on the play when he spun Morrison around after the shot. Raivio missed the first free throw, his first miss in 29 attempts dating to last season, but made the second for a 68-64 lead. Gonzaga kept the ball and Morrison made a free throw for a 69-64 lead.

Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes stole the ball from Singletary and scored on a layup for a 71-64 lead with 4:15 left. Virginia did not threaten again.

"The ACC is the best league in the country," Few said. "Our guys dug themselves out of a hole and got a great win."

Gonzaga is 7-1 all-time against ACC teams, beating Maryland earlier this season and Georgia Tech last season.

Gonzaga and Virginia played once before, with the Zags winning in the first round of the NCAA tournament in 2001.

Gonzaga has won 41 of its past 42 nonconference home games and the Bulldogs are 41-0 at home when ranked.

Gonzaga guard Erroll Knight played his first minutes of the season after being out with a knee injury. He immediately picked up a steal which led to a basket by Batista.

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